Civil War Institute
In Looming Civil War, Phillips writes about the future, specifically, the one predicted by nineteenth-century Americans in the years preceding the Civil War. Challenging dominant narratives of the war, Phillips argues that nineteenth-century individuals were fully aware of a looming civil war and that many believed it would be a long, bloody, and disastrous conflict, not just a short excursion. As individuals looked to the uncertain future, they all made predictions unique to their race, religion, gender, and location. Some white southern elites saw the looming war as an Armageddon that would destroy civilized society, while abolitionists and slaves saw war as a harbinger of freedom. Phillips seamlessly blends these abstract conceptualizations of war with physical realities by using material culture as his driving impetus, illustrating how nineteenth-century Americans interacted with the physical world in a way that both illustrated and influenced their conceptions of the future. [excerpt]
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Ortman, Olivia, "Review: Looming Civil War" (2019). The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History. 352.